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humayunIF THERE IS A CURSE TO BEING AN HEIR, Humayun embodies the fix. Humayun has always been reluctant to take over Babur’s manic programme of aggressive territorial expansion. Now with his dath, he is left the daunting task of managing a complex, challenging Empire his father has only recently established. Babur’s feelings for Humayun were hard to explain. Even harder to explain was his decision to mark out Humayun as his successor on the basis of affection ( /right of way for the first born) rather than an objective evaluation of his fitness to rule. He set his intentions in stone almost as soon as his son was born. Humayun is named after Huma, the legendary bird whose shadow made kings.

Even as a teenager Humayun would joke with friends that if he came under any shadow, it was that of his dominating father. Just about the only interest he shared with Babur, was literature, both of the past and of the day. At the expense of learning the ropes of administration and field strategy, Humayun cultivated his relations with poets, writers, lyricists, painters, and astronomers. He also spent some effort trying his hand at making a name for himself as a poet/writer. It didn’t help that his father had plenty of criticism to share on his son’s fledgling efforts.

At the same time, it cannot be said Humayun entirely absconds from his duties. He has always been diligent in acting on his father’s summons to join him in some far-flung battle or negotiation. It is true that Humayun has a record of being late for more than a few of these, but he always has a perfectly honest reason.

Humayun is a sensitive soul and the circumstances of his father’s recent demise have disturbed him. He has only been recently informed by his sister of the prayer of intercession Babur made on his behalf. He is moved but he is also angry that he has been saddled with an impossible legacy that is still in the making. How will he even begin to pick up from where his father left off.